London. A city full of history, art, culture, and – geeks?
No longer is London just a place of royalty, scones, and black taxi cabs. Sure, Brits drive on the wrong side of the road, guzzle tea like it’s candy, and are always on the move but the world feels a connection to them. Britain is the international geek superstar.
So take a look at 9 sights that will make any geek’s heartstrings flutter.
The Elizabeth Tower (a.k.a. Big Ben)
Big Ben? How is that nerdy?
Smack dab in the middle of London, you’ve got the backdrop for so many pop culture icons: Harry Potter, Peter Pan, Sherlock Holmes, James Bond . . . 101 Dalmatians if you’re really into dogs.
A popular tourist spot and a symbol for everything worth gushing over?? It’s like hitting two geeky birds with one stone.
While strolling The Queen’s Walk along South Bank, you’ll find everyone’s favorite blue box. You can go ahead and make an intergalactic call, but it won’t open without Rose Tyler’s key.
Bonus points if you spot the Doctor.
While also super historic, Leadenhall Market was used as a set for Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. See here.
King’s Cross/St. Pancras International
While on the HP kick, everyone knows of Platform 9 3/4 but King’s Cross/St Pancras is a marvel in itself. Even if you’re only passing through London, you’ll probably end up there eventually. It’s a travel hub, absolutely huge, and filled with people from all over the world. Plus, the high vaulted ceilings in St. Pancras are to die for.
Platform 9 3/4 isn’t on a real platform. There’s usually always a line, so get there early or come back late if you don’t mind taking a photo without your favorite house scarf (or bring you own). There’s a licensed HP shop right next door, which I can proudly say I did not spend all my money on, even though it was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.
You can even sneak through the barrier late at night while the last trains are rolling in and grab a photo between platforms 9 and 10. But shhhh, you didn’t hear it from me.
The Peter Pan Statue
Resurrected in one night, the statue of The Boy Who Will Never Grow Up still hasn’t lost its charm. Walking through Kensington Gardens is a pleasure in itself; find a place in the lush grass for a picnic or camp out under a shady tree. The statue itself is tucked away behind tall bushes so suddenly it’s just there as if * gasps * by magic.
History buffs and literary nerds unite. Shakespeare’s Globe is the best of both worlds.
If you’re looking for the original, it burned down after they decided to use a real cannon during a fatefully final performance of Henry VIII. Someone must have told Mr. Shakespeare to stick to just writing after that.
(The Demon Barber on) Fleet Street
Demon barbers aside, Fleet Street is a pretty popular place.
It’s lined with businesses, tea shops (Which have the same feel as American cafes. I really enjoyed Press Coffee & Co. They also have free wifi!), the first ever Twinning store for all your Earl Grey needs, the Royal Courts of Justice that actually looks more like a castle, daunting dragon statues, and the old headquarters of the Knight’s Templar.
Sweeney Todd may be gone, but Roger is there. I wonder what his clientele is like.
* Insert Any Historic Writer’s * Apartment
J.M. Barrie . . . H.G. Wells . . . the house Charles Dickens was born in is now a museum.
Think of one of the classics that you had to read in high school. They probably lived in London at some point in their life. It’s the British fault.
Why check out the Sherlock Holmes museum when you can walk through the exterior set for BBC’s Sherlock? Heads up though! Sherlock’s 221b apartment in the television series isn’t actually on Baker’s Street.
If you take a look at the map below, the Sherlock Holmes museum is true to Sherlock lore and is on Bakers Street, up the road from Madame Tussauds London. It’s about a 20 minute walk between the two.
Another set. Cool. You know what’s cool? Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman touched that door – just saying. What? My fangirl’s showing? Oops – not sorry.
I absolutely love the star feature on Google Maps. You can see how busy I was! If your curious about how I lived and traveled for 9 months solely on wifi, read my post here.
All of these sights are free to see. If you want to visit the inside of the Globe, you can purchase a ticket to a performance or snag a spot in one of their many day tours. They run about every 30 or so minutes and are pretty small and personable, with about 20 people per tour guide. They’re all very well informed; my tour guide wrote his dissertation on Hamlet. Photos are encouraged.